An interview with Rick Brave-Lion of MEDICINE MANN
by Jason Savage - August 2001
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Rick Brave-Lion, guitarist and songwriter for Nashville's own Medicine Mann. Blending several influences, Medicine Mann has fought for the last seven years in the country trenches of Nashville, in the hopes of escaping "redneck hell." Let's see what keeps these metal warriors fighting.
Rough Edge: For those of us that aren't familiar with Medicine Mann, bring
us up to speed with a brief band history.
Rick Brave-Lion: Medicine Mann was formed in 1994 by members of various other prominent Nashville bands. Pee-Roy, the drummer, and I played together off and on in other bands. We snagged Dee, the bass player, and our former singer from two other bands. We got together, wrote a bunch of new material, and our second gig was opening up for Quiet Riot. From there on, the band prospered on a local and regional level for five years. We released one CD (now out of print), and then our singer left the band for a lucrative day job. We spent about a year auditioning singers and writing new material. During this time, our rehearsal room was broken into and most of our equipment was stolen. Needless to say, 1999 was a shitty year! In January 2000 I answered an ad for a singer looking for a band whose influences were Tool, Sabbath and Kyuss. That turned out to be Jason, whom we auditioned and everything clicked. Since then, we've put out a new CD, we're back to headlining clubs in Nashville, we've opened for Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society, Skid Row and Lynch Mob. We are currently trying to procure a deal with a major or independent label.
Rough Edge: What drives you as a musician? What about this business appeals to you
as an artist?
Rick Brave-Lion: What drives me as a musician is my passion for music. Ever since I was a kid, I have always dug music. The thing that appeals to me most is the fact that I could make a living doing what I love to do most. I also enjoy performing live for people, and the fact that people like the music that I've created.
Rough Edge: Who were your major influences? Do you feel these influences are represented in your style or more as a motivator?
Rick Brave-Lion: Musically: Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Thin Lizzy, Frank Zappa, Judas Priest, Randy Rhoads-era Ozzy, King's X, Pantera, Helmet, Alice in Chains, Blue Murder and Stuck Mojo. Lyrically: Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and Ozzy. As for the second question, I guess I am influenced by everything I hear, some more than others.
Rough Edge: How have the fans reacted to what you present at your live shows?
Rick Brave-Lion: We have built a large, loyal following over the years. If not for them, we would not be still doing this for as long as we have. Some like to mosh, some like to dance, and others just like to get into the groove. We attract a wide variety of fans.
Rough Edge: Seeing how Nashville is known mainly for it's country roots, how has
this affected your struggle to gain recognition? Do you think it has hindered or helped?
Rick Brave-Lion: It's a double-edged sword. On one side, it helps to be the big fish in the small pond, but on the other side the media doesn't want to support hard rock or metal in this beloved country city (with the exception of one magazine, The Rage). They prefer to support country music and college bands. That's why you never hear of any metal bands coming from Nashville, even though there are hundreds of them starving for attention!
Rough Edge: What does Medicine Mann have to offer that maybe other bands don't? What is your "gimmick" so to speak?
Rick Brave-Lion: We've got originality, good songs and an energetic live show. In other words, we're not a bunch of toe-gazers trying to sound like whoever's popular at the moment. We are kind of a mixture of everything rock from the seventies to now, which may be why we appeal to such a diverse audience.
Rough Edge: What is your take on the current state of metal? Do you listen to any new bands?
Rick Brave-Lion: Well, I'm glad that metal is finally making a long-awaited comeback. Regardless of whether I like the band or not, I'd rather see a half-ass metal band on the charts than some lame-ass alternative pop bullshit that's been circulating for the past ten years. As far as new bands go, I like Nonpoint, Saliva, Deftones, Tool, Sevendust, Doubledrive, Slipknot, A Perfect Circle and Incubus. As far as the state of metal goes, I think it's a shame that a band like Stuck Mojo never made it big when they were doing the rap/metal thing ten years before any of these other bands started doing it.
Rough Edge: If you were stranded on a desert island and could bring 3 items, what would they be, one must however must be a CD? In other words what is your favorite album of all time that you could listen to over and over again?
Rick Brave-Lion: 1) Kim Basinger, because I don't wanna be stuck on no desert island slappin' da monkey for however long it's gonna be. 2) A fully stocked Wal-Mart, so I can have the comforts of home. 3) Jimi Hendrix, "Are You Experienced," because that album broke all the rules and set new standards that still haven't been met to this day.
Rough Edge: What is your favorite movie or TV show?
Rick Brave-Lion: Favorite movie: Too many to name. I don't watch TV; I prefer to read because that forces me to use my imagination more. (It worked for Jimi!)
Rough Edge: If technology allowed us to go back in time, what year, era, decade or
time period would you go back to? If you could change one thing in history, what would it be?
Rick Brave-Lion: 0000 B.C. because I wanna see how it really all began instead of listening to some scientist's lame theory. I would make everybody one skin color (gray) and do away with organized religion. Maybe there would be less violence, hatred and prejudice in this world (but there would always be some moron that didn't like you because of your hair color).
Thanks, Rick, for the insight. For more info please visit Medicine Mann at http://www.medicinemann.com.
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Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:10 -0400.